Want to avoid a DUI? There’s an app for that. If four United States Senators get their way, that may soon change. Democrat senators from New York, New Jersey, Nevada and New Mexico have sent a letter to Apple, RIM, and Google, requesting that the application be taken down as soon as possible. Computer World has posted a piece of the letter that states:
"Giving drunk drivers a free tool to evade checkpoints, putting innocent families and children at risk, is a matter of public concern. We hope that you will give our request to remove these applications from your store immediate consideration."
The senators appear to be targeting tools that take user-generated information on the location of red light cameras, speed traps, school zones, and DUI checkpoints and overlay that information on the map in order to warn motorists. There are many tools available that provide this type of functionality, although it appears that the group is specifically targeting PhantomALERT.
Apple controls what can and can’t be installed on their devices via their App Store, so removing access to an application is relatively straight forward: send a letter to the head of Apple's iPhone software store and see if the company pulls the application for you. The other providers have a segmented market, making it nearly impossible to stop the proliferation of tools. While some see Apple’s iron grip on the applications as a good thing for the community, cases like this can cause people to rethink the control.